Is seeking after God a great good?

“Yes, after all…
  • The Bible repeatedly says seeking God is good

    The unanimous testimony of Judeo-Christian scripture is that seeking God is good,1 and God arranges to be sought after.2 This is relevant for two reasons. First, these scriptural testimonies are reliable. Second, these testimonies are at least in part grounded in the widespread intuition that seeking God is good (see below).

    1. Scriptures saying that seeking God is good:

      Deuteronomy 4:29 -- seek the Lord your God, and you will find Him if you search for Him with all your heart and all your soul.
      Psalm 63:1 -- O God, You are my God; I shall seek You earnestly;
      Psalm 78:34 -- then they sought Him, And returned and searched diligently for God
      2 Chronicles 30:18-19 -- May the good Lord pardon everyone who prepares his heart to seek God

    2. Scriptures saying that God arranges to be sought after:

      Jeremiah 29:13 -- You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.
      Acts 17:27 -- God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us (NIV) • Hebrews 11:6 -- He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.
      Psalm 14:2-3 -- to see if there are any who understand, Who seek after God. (cf. Rom 3:10-12)

  • Seeking the good is good.

    Seeking the good, whatever it is, is good. This is relevant because, if God exists, God plausibly is “the good,” such that the property of being good constitutionally is the property of resembling God. (At the very least God exemplifies the property of being good, and so seeking after God is akin to seeking after virtue or other good things.)

    1. This seems to be granted as a widespread human intuition, and it is rational to heed the deliverances of our philosophical intuitions.
    2. On the Aristotelian conception, God is the greatest conceivable being, and so plausibly the locus of moral value. While “good” may not mean resemblance to God, it could be that the property of being good constitutionally is the property of resembling God (a la Robert Adams, “Finite and Infinite Goods” (Oxford, 2002).
    3. Note: Sacrificing to seek the good is even greater. This is relevant because while seeking after God is already good, truly being able to sacrifice in seeking him is even greater, and if one could not really sacrifice (time, effort, etc.) to seek God, then this opportunity for good would be lost.
  • Instrumentally good

    Seeking God enhances other goods, including…

    • …sacrificing to promote the good (e.g. forcing ones self to learn and seek council)
    • …helping others in need for example being able to sympathize and share testimony of one's own search)
    • forming our own character (e.g. in persevering in the search, and continuing to do right things without fear of God's judgment),
    • having free will (e.g. giving one the option to seek or to refrain from seeking)
    • producing inspiring timeless stories (e.g. of individuals doing work to pursue something good, or rationally following evidence and concluding God exists, despite one's opposing desires and knowing the unwelcome demands it would make on their life).
  • Eternally fellowshipping with God is good

    Eternally fellowshipping with God is a great good (perhaps the highest good). This is relevant because this kind of fellowship with God plausibly requires seeking after God (even if this is instigated by the Holy Spirit).

    • Jeremiah 29:13 -- You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.

    • Matthew 7:7 -- seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.